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Raymondville, Texas

Raymondville, Texas

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Transfer to Brownsville!!

March 29, 2010

Hi Family!!

I LOVE IT HERE! Its so awesome. I love love love love love it. Okay so my area is Brownsville Southmost. The Border Wall is in our area and we can totally cross it. Actually we do sometimes. Like there are houses in between the wall and the river haha and I guess they are part of the US so we go by. Its way way way cool. We teach a TON in Spanish!! I've learned so much Spanish in just this week its pretty crazy. Oh yea so my comp is Elder Valdez. He's from Oceanside. Kinda a chill kid, I'll talk more about that later.

Anyway, hes only been out 3 transfers, so I'm Senior comp. He was with this guy Elder Klc last transfer and Elder Klc trained Elder Yergensen in this area. Elder Valdez doesnt know the area, so basicly we're white washing. There were 3 investigators when I got here, thats terrible. So we did lots and lots and lots of finding this week. We found 29 new investigators, thats a ton, kinda rediculous. Prob 20 were in Spanish. Oh yea and Valdez doesnt know hardly any Spanish, so I teach basicly the whole lesson by myself. Even in English sometimes, he has issues talking. Its tough, I feel like Im training.

We're in a car area. We've only ridden our bikes once. Oh yea, and they opened up the area right next to ours, its called Chaparral. And the two missionaries who opened it live in our appartment, Elders Sibbett and Holden. Sibbett is my homie, he was in the MTC with me. We're way stoked to be livin together. The branch is way legit. So much better than Raymondville. They know whats going on. Hopefully its gonna be a ward soon. They need like 6 more Mel Priesthood holders I think, somethin like that. So I want this place to be a ward before I leave. I have a feeling Im gonna be here a while. I really do love it a lot here. We eat with members like 4-5 times a week. We had some tacos 3 times this week and they made me sick. They tasted real good but they are super greasy and I got sick from them. Our appartment is brick, its small but works. We have a washer and dryer which is nice. AC works. Oh yea and Elder Guillen is training a brand new missionary in Raymonville haha. I miss Raymonville, it was fun there, but I know I need to be here.

This place has been in the dumps since Elder Yergensen left. He had like 7 baptisms here so there are obviouly legit people, we just gotta find them. We have a zone activity thing today that im super excited for, were gonna BBQ (or as the people here say, were gonna make a BBQ) and play some beach Vball. One of the ZLs here is way cool, his name is Elder Reily, hes from San Diego. Hes way athletic, bout to play football at Col. St. after his mission. Hes a cool guy, anyway, he organizes all the stuff. Oh yea we have a bench in our house too! Im bout to get buff again.

Glad to hear Tyler got his permit. Is he gonna get a car? I didnt get any mail this week, its all probably in Raymonville now, kinda annoying. I did get that package tho! It was awesome. I loved the tape, Im working on sending one back. So Eddies taking over at Los Al, thats kinda crazy. I guess coach K is a good guy. So nobody ever told me about Jack. Is he actually going to UCLA to play ball? Where is Tim going? Anybody know about Cameron yet? Crazy that Todd and Benjamin are already home, that was fast. Im already pushin 8 months. Almost a 3rd done! Loco. I love it tho. Just gotta start baptizing again. Its been a while. There are gonna be a couple in Raymondville soon that I'm sad to miss. We'll find some legit people here in Brownsville tho. Okay well I think thats about it.I love you guys and hope to get some letters this week.

Con mucho amor

Elder Given

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Awesome Week and Maybe last day in Raymondville

March 22, 2010

Hey Everybody!

We find out about transfers today! Idk whats gonna happen. I could totally see me leaving but at the same time Elder Horton, Hernandez and another missionary were all here for 5 transfers. We'll see. I'll try to send out a letter as soon as I know.

Anyway it was a fun week, crappy at times but fun. We had 250 contacts this week, 61 one day. Those are both records for me haha. We just talk to EVERYONE. I have seriously talked to like 2500 people here in Raymondville, pretty crazy. And even though we had a ton on contacts we still had a ton of lessons. We were able to get members out to 15 lessons and just taught a ton!!! Close to 50 lessons this week haha. Its so true that when you teach more you become a better teacher.

So I'll start off with the crappy lessons. So we took out Junior with us, who is a way good member to take out cus he knows a lot. Anyway, we take him to this girl Marissa, who we set a Bap Date with the time before. So they realize they went to school together. (Juniors 23 shes 21) So thats always good. So we teach about the BoM and about authority and she felt the spirit and started to open up and whatnot. We were in the process of extending a church commitment, and then her mom walks out and is like "Hi Im Marissa's mom, blah blah blah, we have our church" Snatches the BoM out of her daughters hand and hands it back to me. It sucked. It was honestly the best lesson we had all week and Satan ruined it. Junior said hes gonna try to talk to her on Facebook tho haha. So then, we go to another lesson with this lady Bebe. We had gotten members over there 2 times earlier in the week, and she had kinda showed some signs that she did some research online. So we were expecting polygamy to come up. Sure enough, about 5 minutes in it did. So good thing I studied it that morning so I was able to destroy that doubt, but then she kept saying all this stupid stuff about how we just need to accept Jesus to be saved. It was dumb. I got mad, I tried not to but I did get mad. It was really frustrating. She tried to say she read half the BoM but she hasn't.

Oh yea I went on splits with Elder Horton this week. It was fun, like my first transfer all over again. We had a pretty good day. And on Wednesday, Elder Guillen and I went on splits with some members. I went with Louie, who is a 16 year old kid who got baptized a few months ago, and Elder Guillen went with Junior. It was so much fun. Guillen and Junior went to our set up lessons, and me and Louie went and knocked doors. I taught Louie how to contacts, and it was pretty funny, the first door he did by himself the lady was a jerk. She was like No, Were not interested, Bam door slammed. Luckily Louie is a cool kid and just laughed about it. Hes so going on a mission.

Oh yea HAPPPY BIRTHDAY TYLER!!!!!!! You better pass your permit test boy, its so easy!

Anyway, thanks for the college bball updates, but I already know all of them. Matt sent me a bracket so I printed it out and filled it out. I got 21/32 in the first round and I mission like 7 in the 2nd round I think. Kinda crappy but alright for not knowing anything. I still picked Kentucky last summer to win it and they are so going to. There is this number we can call that tells us the updates for the sports scores, so I do that on the nights when there are games.

Mom good to hear about what your learning from church. Joe Quintero totally taught that same lesson in church. I guess Pres Ramos called him and asked him to do it. So he studies it and then planned it out, and then like timed himself teaching it to his kids with questions and everything. He's such a smart guy. It was a really good lesson. He's so cool. Hopefully he gets a calling soon. I guess the sisters are going to go teach his mom this week so thats cool.

I finished the Doctrine and Covenants today. It took me about 6 weeks I think. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Book of Mormon. I love the BoM. I am in Mosiah right now. Love it. Dad how far in are you now? Probably like Helaman? Good to hear you got a job mom, that should be fun for the summer, and hopefully set up for a job in the future.

As for Prep-Days mom, we dont really do anything. There isn't much to do in Raymondville, and we don't have the miles to go to Harlingen, and that's not even that fun anyway. We played Monopoly with the Sisters at the park one time. That was alright, I won haha. Our appartment is pretty nice, it gets the job done except for the heater/AC. They both don't work. Its whatever tho cus it isnt hot yet. I do my laundry every week mom, it costs $3 to do it now. My favorite food I have had here is Choriso, I think thats how you spell it. But we had it with Hermana Barreras homemade tortiallas and beans, it was soooooo good. I loved it. Basicly every meal with a memeber we eat with Tortiallas and beans. I love both of those now, a lot haha. I had some BBQ one time at this guy JTs house. He is a guy that lives in the sisters area but we are going to start teaching him cus the sisters dont like him. He's kinda ghetto, he's killed someone (it was self defense) and he has a huge bullet hole in his truck door hahah. True story, anyway he made us some really good BBQ one time. I usually love the food down here. There isn't anywhere cool down here accept for the Island. Also known as South Padre Island, which I think is where the Druckers go. Its basicly just a huge party. Tons of Beer and half naked people. Its a big deal I guess, its the only thing cool in south texas, but we arent allowed to go out there haha.

Well I think thats about it. It was a fun week, we worked super hard, didn't see the success we wanted tho, nobody came to church. We did everything we could to get them there tho so Im not going to worry too much about it. I love you guys and cant wait to get that package!

HAPPY Birthday TyLEr!


Elder Given

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010

Hi Family,

I got bit by a dog! haha and it was the Quinteros dog! It was last night, I was unlocking our bikes from the Stop sign and they had followed us out to the street barking, and when I turned my back to it, it totally bit my leg! Its half pit bull haha. But it wasn't hard, didnt hurt that bad or rip my pants. So anyway, we had an AMAZING week. We just keep working our butts off and things are working out well.

Did Tyler get his permit?

Okay so last Sunday, we had a branch fast for the missionary work here in Raymondville, and we just destroyed it this week. So we shoot to get 10 lessons with member presents every week, which is usually pretty tough, and in order to get 10 we plan a TON of lessons and try to get members to all of them, and usually like half or a third fall through. But this week, Everything was working out. It was legit. We ended up with 17 member presents, which is unheard of in little Raymondville. The Lord really blessed us a lot this week. Joe Rios came to church again. We got 3 members over to his house this week which was key. We commited him to live the WOW and hes getting ready to get baptized on April 11th. Hes already been to chruch twice. We just gotta get him married or seperated. Hes way set on getting baptized tho, hes legit.

We had interviews with pres this week. Mine went really well, he said "Im going to be a leader in the mission" and that Im probably gonna get transfered in a week, so we'll see where that takes me. I think Im going to either Edinburg or Lorado. We'll see tho, Im down for whatever. I got your letter dad, thats way cool about the March Madness, I Love the BOM, I started Jacob this week in Spanish and English. Ive been learning a ton lately. It was prettty cool cus last night Elder Guillen and I couldnt fall asleep, so we were talking about how we had a really good week, and then we were like, what can we do to work harder, so we talked about stuff we can do to be even better. Its pretty cool, we arent satisfied, we need to baptize!

We spent 2.5 hours at the Alejandros house yesterday, they are some way cool members. Sis Alejandro got baptized in Sep, and her daughter Frances, and her Frances' boyfriend Raymond got baptized like 2 months ago. Anyway Frances just turned 16 so we went over there and hung out with the members and thanked them for all the support they have given us. Elder Guillen took a bunch of sweet pics at the party so I'll send you some this week. WE'RE GETTING ANOTHER TIE BAIL THIS WEEEK! Im so excited. Its spring break here in the Valley, whens your guys spring break. Found out our way cool 17 year old investigator has a kid, never would have guessed, not really surprising tho.

Lets see what else happened this week, we road 15 miles one day, that was fun. Oh yead we went on splits again on Tuesday, but with the other Elders from our district, and I stayed In Raymond. with Elder Peterson who goes home in July. So we had a decent day, and we went to Juan, who loves cutting hair, and he cut Elder Petersons hair. SUPER SHORT! Like a 0 on the sides. It was bad, and the day before interviews, we just laughed about it cus there was nothing we could do. He just called up Sister Miller and told her to tell her husband not to yell at him haha.

Tyler are you doing anything for your Bday? I got Kallies letter, her hair is so long! OSS looked like a lot of fun. I love you guys a lot. I think thats all I got for this week.

Con Mucho Amor

Elder Given

March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

Hey Everybody,

We had a pretty good week. We've been working super hard and we're starting to see the fruits of our labors. I'll start with all the drama. So Brother Serrato, who baptized Joe Joe, and is one of the coolest members, is in jail. I guess he has some other kids with this other woman and he got behind on his child support cus he hasn’t been able to work cus of the weather. Anyway we took him out for a lesson Thursday night and he told us he had to go to court the next day and that there was a slight chance he would have to go to jail, and sure enough he did. Its pretty sad cus now Sister Serrato is all alone with her 4 crazy kids and they wont have any income. It’s not good. We had to go help her start her car this morning so she could take her youngest to the Doctor. This is why we need home teachers.

So to answer your question dad, I love my companion. He’s way cool. He started his mission in Washington, baptized like crazy. Got sick, stayed at home to long cus he started school, and then got sent here in Sept. He worked at an auto shop for 5 years and knows a lot about cars. He’s pretty athletic. Not good at basketball though. He is slowly getting worse at both English and Spanish while he is in Raymondville longer. He’s hilarious though!

And the coolest thing is I’m totally seeing myself help change my companions. Elder Brandley is ZL in Corpus now and he is over Elder Fowler, and he told me that Elder Fowler has really changed since his transfer with me, he’s really working hard and is doing really well. Ive seen the same change with Elder Guillen, he came to Raymondville just kinda feeling whatever about missionary work, cus he had a gay comp for 3 transfers in Corpus (and Corpus is the tough area) but He's really been getting excited lately and is down to work hard. It’s way cool. So Pres Ahlstrom knows what he’s talking about, or the spirit does haha!

The Viveros came to church! Actually only to like 45 minutes worth but they came. Not even the first 45 minutes. Okay let me go back. So we had a couple really good lessons with them this week, and they are super super excited about going to church and getting baptized, and then we went by Thursday or Friday, and the mom tells us that her husband got taken to jail! I guess the immigration people stopped him and took him basicly at gun point. So Udine, the mom, was all crying and so were the girls. It has been really though for them. But according to Elder Guillen, Hispanic women are usually over dramatic and emotional so it’s probably not as bad as she says.

But the good thing is that they did come to church, they didn’t make it to sacrament, but showed up during Sunday school. They really liked that, and then they went to Relief Society. I guess the girls didn’t want to leave their mom so they went too, and they were complaining and stuff, and according to the Sister Missionaries Relief Society was a "disaster" and the Viveros left half way through. So we stopped by later Sunday afternoon and Udine said she really loved it, but that the girls weren't ready yet. So they'll be back, once the dad gets out it will be a lot easier for the girls too. I guess he might be getting out today, its just a matter of how long he'll stay out. But my whole mindset of illegal immigrants has changed since I've been here. I used to be like all anti Illegal Mexicans and stuff, but I don’t care at all anymore, and when they take break apart families like they did with them, it really annoys me and makes me sad, but there’s nothing I can do.

I went on splits with the ZLs on Wednesday. I went with Elder Sheilds, who is Elder Hortons companion, and we worked in Harlingen. I did not like working outside of Raymondville! It’s weird cus part of me hates this place, but more and more of me is loving it. It’s really weird. I guess I’m ready to get transferred now. And when I say I hate this place a little, its only cus its really difficult at times and the people are driving me crazy sometimes. It doesn’t stop me from working though. I love working. Time is flying by! 7 months already! Crazy.

So Shelly’s engaged! Its funny cus I sent her a letter earlier this week and she said something about ring shopping and I said that next time I hear from her she'll probably be engaged, sure enough, I was right haha.Thats so weird, Dave's a cool guy tho. Oh yea and Dad I see Pres Miller like twice a transfer. Interviews and Zone Confrence. That’s it, unless we have something special in McAllen, which is very rare. No idea who the new mission pres is gonna be.

I bought Monopoly in Spanish this week at a garage sale. It was only 3 bucks and it was brand new! So we play that for like 30 minutes sometimes at night. We still haven’t even finished a game yet haha. Dad my Spanish is coming along. I understand a lot, pretty much everything, and I can get my point across pretty clearly. I’m gonna keep working, cus I don’t want to be an average speaker, I want to master it! I just have to put in the work. It’s a lot of fun though. I’m almost done with Segundo Nefi en El Libro de Mormon.

Oh yea and Juan came to church! The guy who we almost died with and that cuts our hair! It was way cool, Joe picked him up and he loved it. It was way cool to see him there. Well I think that’s about it. I hope I answered all the questions I was supposed to. I still haven’t heard anything about BYU. I guess I'll just have to wait. I have actually been thinking bout just going to JC for a year in Cali, to play ball, but we'll see tho. Utah St. is also a strong possibility. Next year I need to apply to a couple schools. I love you guys.

Send me a cassette!


Elder Given

P.S. mom I got your pics, thanks!

March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010

Hey everybody. It was a weird week. We worked really hard again this week and got members out to lessons with us, but people were retarded and chose not to come to church. We helped this guy Juan (the same on we helped and almost died with, and the guy who cut our hair) anyway we helped him do some work again, and he was like "I don’t usually promise anyone anything, but I’m promising you guys that Ill be at church" But he didn’t show up. I guess he got stuck in Harlingen Saturday night. I was annoyed. We had some good lessons with that awesome family we found but when we stopped by Saturday the mom was sick, but said they would most likely being going to church unless she got worse. So we stopped by Sunday morning and their car wasn’t there! We still dont know what happened with that, there car has been gone since Saturday evening or Sunday morning, hopefully she didn’t get worse and have to go to the doctor, she has cancer and stuff so hopefully she’s okay. Joe and Andromada were supposed to come to church again too, but I guess Andys Grandpa died Sat night so they went to some random church. But, Yesenia (Veronica Quinteros sister) came to church so at least we got someone. We'e gonna talk to Joe and Veronica about if she’s gonna get baptized or not cus she can whenever she wants now.

Dad I got your letter. Sad that they lost to Mater Dei. Sounds like Timmy ended the year really strong! Where is he going? Demar was in the Dunk Contest!!! Thats crazy!!! Remember when we played him? hahaha. Has there been any surf? I heard there were like Tsuami warnings and stuff cus of the earthquake. That might be fun. Some warm water from the south and some legit waves haha. Mom I never got a letter from you, but I did get that one from papa. I still wanna know what the deal is with Jack and stuff.

Did I tell you we got a new car? The APs brought it by last week. Its basicly the same, just silver. Its an '07 Mazda 3. Angela and Derick tried to leave Raymondville last week but couldn’t, they’re just depressing now, I don’t like seeing them.

It was weird, yesterday this old guy in church was teaching Elders Quorumn and he randomly asked me like "Elder, (I guess he forgot my name haha) Your parents are probably gonna be pretty excited when you go home right? I’m like well, yea. He’s then like, you'll probably be even more excited tho right? And legitly in my head I was like, no, I don’t want to leave. Its weird but I really do love it hear and I love being a missionary. Its gonna be really weird not being a missionary, that’s a long time away tho so I’m not gonna think about it!! hahahah

President Ramos is hilarious. I swear he’s just crazy but I love him. We just laugh all the time. He calls the Sisters, Elders. At the end of coorilation meeting, he had one of the Sisters say the prayer, and after he was like "thank you Elder" it was soooo funny, cus he had been saying dumb stuff the whole meeting. So me and Elder Guillen walk out fast cus we were laughing so hard, then I’m like 10 feet away and I hear Pres Ramos say, "So you Elders have a car?" hahahah One of the Sisters was like "its Sisters!!!" It was hilarious. He just doesn’t get it at all.

We did a lot of service this week, like 4 hours worth. We had to drive this one member all over Raymonville for like an hour cus he got a flat, so we helped him pick up his check (which was $100 for the whole week) then took him to buy a used tire for $20. The people here live on nothing. Its crazy. We are so blessed, I can’t even imagine what Dylan is going through. But everyone does have money for drugs and alcohol, I don’t get it.

Well I think that’s about it. Not a very exciting week, a member said she’s gonna make her husband get a bail of ties for us this week haha so that could be fun. I love you guys. Tell everyone I say hi


Elder Given